Church Blog

Thank You from the Pastors College

June 7 2012 at 1:25 pm 6 Comments

We received this gracious letter of thanks from Jeff Purswell, Dean of the Pastors College, and wanted to share it here with everyone. Thank you, Jeff!

To the pastors and members of Covenant Life Church,

As the conclusion of the 15th year of the Sovereign Grace Pastors College approached, I asked for the opportunity to thank you for the inestimable contribution you have made by hosting and serving the college since its inception.  It is a daunting task—but one which I relish—to attempt to express my gratefulness for the myriad ways Covenant Life has facilitated, strengthened, and enhanced the training of future pastors through the college. 

One of the things that distinguishes the Pastors College from many pastoral training contexts is its connection to a local church, and it has been our privilege for many years to be connected to this particular local church.  When I arrived here in 1997, I encountered a culture of servanthood that was unique in my experience, and to my delight that servanthood has been channeled into the Pastors College in countless ways.  Some of you have served in the most personal way possible by opening your homes to students as host families.  More than opening your homes, you have opened your lives to them, and in many cases life-long friendships have been the result.  Scores of you have “adopted” students and blessed them in many and various ways through your care group.  Stories abound of cookouts held, household goods donated, money (and frequent flyer miles!) given, babysitting offered—all of this and more has lightened the load and brightened the hearts of our students.  Hundreds of you have served in numerous events held for the students, who have been unfailingly blessed and instructed by the joy, creativity, and effort that you displayed.  I must make special mention of those of you who have served on the PC Administrative team over the years (affectionately—and accurately—known in the halls of SGM as the “Dream Team”).  I’ve never worked with a more devoted, creative, sacrificial, and delightful group of servants—you will always hold a cherished place in our hearts.  And to the pastors, thank you for supporting the students, teaching the students, and leading a church context that over the years has provided both a model of church life and a place where these students and their families can worship and be nurtured by God’s word during their time at the Pastors College.

My summary of your contribution has been written in the past tense, but there’s a “present tense” to your labors that I want to bring to your attention.  Over the past 15 years, 243 men have graduated from the college, of which 175 are in full-time or part-time vocational ministry.  These men serve in 84 churches in 16 nations.  Thirty-two of these churches have been planted by PC graduates (in the current class alone, we have eight men slotted for future church plants).  Sixty-one men serve as senior pastors.  Such statistics only hint at the conversions given by God through these churches, the seeds sown for the gospel, the thousands of people cared for, the marriages healed, the families strengthened—eternity alone will reveal the fruit borne by the grace of God through these graduates.  My hope is that you will recognize that the service you have given, the prayers you have prayed, the generosity you have expressed, and the kindness you have extended are having an enduring effect through the lives of these men and their families that continues to impact the world for the gospel.

As the Pastors College prepares for our transition to Louisville, we do so aware of the foundation that has been laid for us here in Gaithersburg—and we will not soon forget the names and faces of those of you who have given so selflessly to help make the PC what it is today.  I am deeply grateful for you, and humbled by the privilege of laboring with you.

Our graduation ceremony will take place on Sunday evening, June 10, at 6 p.m. in the Covenant Life Auditorium.  I would like to invite you to share in the celebration of that evening.  It would be an honor to have you with us.

With enduring gratefulness,

Jeff Purswell

“For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do.” –Hebrews 6:10

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Well said, Jeffrey!  As one of those 243 former students, I couldn’t agree more!  Thank you, CLC (with a special shout-out to Scott & Diana Hendricks, who invited my family into their lives and not simply their home)... we are forever indebted!

By Doug Hayes on 06/08/2012

Very grateful for Jeff and pastor’s college staff. As a Covenant Life Church member I’d love to see Jeff come to our church and read the letter personally before the big move to Louisville. that would bless the church so much I think.

By Raul Pons on 06/08/2012

Raul, I agree!  It was noticeably different today as a picture was shown on the screen and a mention about a thank you letter in the Sunday morning service rather than Jeff up on stage introducing the graduating class of 2012 and thanking the church in person.  Such a sad, sad way for things to come to an end.  Curious as to who initiated this change.

By Shauna Pier on 06/11/2012


Thank you for your kind letter and thank you for the faithfulness with which you and your family have served this Church and Sovereign Grace Ministries.  Jayne and I are so grateful for your ministry here and for the clarity with which you have taught us on those Sundays when you occupied the pulpit .... we have always been blessed by your gospel insights and clear presentation of what the scriptures have to say to us today as we work out our salvation with fear and trembling. 

Jim and Jayne Thomsen

By Mariel Thomsen on 06/12/2012

As others have pointed out in earlier posts, this is indeed a very gracious letter.  However, I felt a bit sad that this message was not delivered personally to the church particularly because this is the last graduating class before the move to Louisville.

By Colleen Burke on 06/18/2012

What a privilege it has been to have the Pastors College at CLC. Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to participate in supporting the PC through serving at different events and serving the families directly. I look forward to hearing what the Lord has for the each of the graduates from this class.

By Mindy Gasca on 06/18/2012
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